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Project Criticized for Lack of Class

Times Staff Writer

About 50 Agoura area residents have told developers that a proposed 474-acre commercial and residential project is too dense and not classy enough for their semi-rural community.

Wickliff & Co. and the Pulte Home Corp. want to build 338 housing units and 261,700 square feet of commercial space, including a discount retail store, near Agoura and Kanan roads. They are calling the proposal the Agoura Canyon Ranch.

In a town hall-style meeting in Agoura Hills punctuated by shouting Tuesday night, residents said the proposal would clog traffic on already busy roads. The proposal includes 126 condominiums, which some residents said would be out of character with the community of large estate homes to the south. Others objected to the discount store.

The project is “low-end rather than upper-end,” resident Michael Genthe said. “You’re proposing such a non-consistent development compared to what’s there today.”

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“We don’t need it, and we don’t want it,” resident Gary Epper said.

Developers’ representatives defended the proposal, saying that the discount store would serve the community and that the condominiums would satisfy requirements for low-cost housing.

“We’re not proposing a cheap-production thing,” said Robert W. Smith, vice president of Pulte Home. “These can be fairly expensive things that will add to the value of the community.” The project would include 80 estate-sized houses on lots averaging two acres.

In addition, the developers said, the city of Agoura Hills would receive $3.3 million in fees for traffic improvements.

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The city could use that money to pay for new on- and off-ramps to the eastbound Ventura Freeway at Kanan Road, estimated to cost $2.9 million, City Manager David N. Carmany said.

The site of the proposed project straddles the southern border of Agoura Hills, with the area proposed for houses and condominiums in unincorporated Los Angeles County territory.

If the city were to annex the unincorporated area, Wickliff and Pulte would have to seek zoning changes to permit the housing density they are proposing, Carmany said.

Project officials said they did not know how much housing is allowed under the county plan for the area.

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Robert L. Anderson, Wickliff vice president, promised to hold another meeting in about a month to respond to those and other questions, such as the issue of possible flooding from Medea Creek.


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